War in Ukraine: 3 dead in Kharkiv, a fire in kyiv after a Russian missile attack… an update on the situation

War in Ukraine: 3 dead in Kharkiv, a fire in kyiv after a Russian missile attack... an update on the situation

Attaque de cinq missiles S300 sur le quartier residentiel de Novobavarsky. MAXPPP – Nicolas Cleuet/Le Pictorium

Every day, Midi Libre takes stock of the situation in Ukraine. This Friday, May 31, 2024, discover the latest news around this conflict.

Russian missiles hit targets in Kharkiv, at least three dead

Russian missiles targeted Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, killing at least three people and injuring 16, local officials said early Friday. According to testimonies, the missiles targeted a residential building, a business and a factory. The region's governor, Oleh Syniehoubov, said that according to initial information, S-300 missiles had been used. "The third, fourth and fifth floors (of the residential building) are destroyed, the stairwells are destroyed, the facades are destroyed", Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov told Suspilne public television.

Oleh Syniehoubov said at least two children were injured in the attack, which happened around midnight local time. He warned that people could be trapped under the rubble. Kharkiv police chief Volodymyr Timoshko told Suspilne that he expected the toll to rise. Kharkiv has been under regular bombardment since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but Russian attacks have increased in recent weeks.

China will not attend Ukraine peace conference

China has confirmed that it will not attend a Ukraine peace conference to be held in Switzerland next month, four sources familiar with the matter said. Beijing declined the invitation because certain conditions were not met, including that both Ukraine and Russia should attend the conference, three of the sources said. The Swiss government will host a high-level conference on peace in Ukraine on June 15-16, to which Russia has not been invited.

The aim of the conference is to create a favorable framework for achieving lasting and comprehensive peace in Ukraine and a concrete road map for Moscow's participation in the peace process. China informed its diplomats this week that several conditions had not been met for its participation. Beijing is insisting that the conference be recognized by Russia and Ukraine, that all parties participate on an equal footing and that all proposals be given fair discussion, one of the sources said.

China's demands for an international peace conference recognized by Russia and Ukraine are “fair” and “impartial”, and are not aimed at any party, Mao Ning, a spokesman for the country's Foreign Ministry, said at a press conference on Friday.“China attaches great importance to Switzerland hosting the first peace summit in Ukraine and has been working with Switzerland and all parties concerned since the beginning of this year,”, Mao Ning added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hinted on Thursday that China could host a peace conference in which Russia and Ukraine could participate. Ukraine had invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to the conference in Switzerland in January.

Berlin authorizes Ukraine to use German weapons in Kharkiv region

Ukraine can use weapons supplied by Germany to defend itself against attacks launched from Russia in the Kharkiv border region, a German government spokesperson said on Friday. Germany discussed with its allies Russian strikes on the Kharkiv region from positions in the immediately adjacent Russian border area, the spokesperson said.

"We are all convinced that Ukraine has the right, guaranteed by international law, to defend itself against these attacks", he said in a press release. "To do this, it may also use the weapons provided for this purpose in accordance with its international legal obligations, including those we have provided to it".

This statement comes as, according to four American representatives, Joe Biden discreetly gave Ukraine permission to use American weapons to strike targets on Russian territory, but only near the region of Kharkov. Speaking from Prague, where NATO foreign ministers are meeting, the alliance's secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, ruled on Thursday that "the time [had] come" to reconsider some of the restrictions on the use of weapons delivered to Ukraine to fight against Russia, a position shared in particular by France. Until now, the United States and Germany have been reluctant to do so for fear of giving Russia a motive to drag Western countries into a wider conflict.

Fire in kyiv after Russian missile attack

A Russian missile attack on kyiv sparked a fire in a non-residential building early Friday, the head of the Ukrainian capital's military administration said. The Ukrainian Air Force claimed on messaging app Telegram that Russia attacked kyiv with an Iskander short-range ballistic missile and drones. All the missiles were destroyed as they approached the city, Serhi Popko, head of the capital's military administration, said on Telegram.

A fire broke out in a non-residential building in the Holosiivskyi district following falling debris, Serhi Popko said. According to preliminary information, there were no injuries. The Ukrainian Air Force also reported Russian strikes on the city of Kharkiv which left at least three dead and 16 injured. Russia did not immediately comment on the attack. Moscow has denied targeting civilians since the start of the war in February 2022.

Using Western weapons against Russia is "a question of time", says Zelensky

Ukraine's use of weapons supplied by Western allied countries against targets on Russian territory is " a matter of time", Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky said on Friday. "I think that the use of any weapon, a Western weapon, on the territory of Russia is a matter of time", he declared during a visit to Stockholm where he signed a bilateral security agreement with Sweden.

Kyiv has for many months been pressing its Western allies to increase their military support as Russia launched a new offensive in the border region of Kharkiv, in the northeast of the # 39;Ukraine. The question of how to use the weapons supplied to Ukraine to strike Russian territory has fueled discussions in recent weeks in Western ranks.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for reconsidering some of the restrictions on the use of these weapons, a position shared in particular by France, but elsewhere. Other countries have expressed concern that this could give Russia a motive to draw Western countries into a wider conflict.

The United States, followed by Germany, finally allowed Kyiv to use the weapons it provided to strike Russian territory but only in the Kharkiv region. Ukraine "received a message from the American side early in the morning" Friday, Volodimir Zelensky said, without revealing other details on communication with the United States.

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